Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Latest "Redskins Fact" Is Actually Pretty Critical Of The Team Name

Illustration for article titled Latest Redskins Fact Is Actually Pretty Critical Of The Team Name

So let's see what's being promoted into our Twitter timelines today...

Hmm, OK. Surely an interesting debate to be had about the limits and roles of objectivity and advocacy in journalism. Let's see what Washington's fake-grassroots PR site has to say on the issues...

Minnesota Public Radio reports that the Rochester Post-Bulletin will continue to use the Redskins name in sports coverage and believes other journalists should not take sides on the issue.


Oddly the "Read More" link goes to the MPR story on the Post-Bulletin's announcement, rather than the announcement itself. So let's look at the actual memo, from Post-Bulletin managing editor Jay Furst.

A lot of Native American people find the term "redskin" offensive.

Surprising lede from a piece that's supposed to convince me that "redskins" is a cool and good word. But go on.

If you doubt that, check the long list of organizations, including the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community among Minnesota tribes, that are pressuring the owner of the Washington Redskins to change the team's name.

Does every Native American agree, and does every tribe oppose the name? Of course not, but it's irrefutable that a large number of Native American organizations and leaders in Minnesota and nationally believe "redskins" is derogatory and a racist slur, pure and simple.

(Furst has not offered up a single personal opinion yet, merely uncontroversial and supported statements. This is already the largest number of facts to ever appear on

Many but not all P-B journalists believe the name is derogatory and should be changed, and they believe the paper should continue to write editorials calling for that.

Several people also said the P-B should drop the name in news and sports coverage. Others said they were concerned about the journalistic issues raised by doing that. If we drop the team's legal name, do we appear to be tilting our news coverage in one direction? Does that risk our credibility on that issue and other issues?

In the end, we arrived at the Washington Post's solution: We won't use the name in P-B editorials on the Opinions page, but we'll continue to use the name in news and sports stories.

At the same time, we acknowledge that the team name is offensive to some readers, and we'll do our best to limit use of the name — once a story ought to be enough — and we'll limit usage in headlines and photo captions. We'll also be more attentive to the use of other team names that are controversial, such as the Cleveland Indians. It's common to refer to the Indians as the "Tribe," for example. We'll do our best to avoid those types of racially loaded terms, especially in headlines.

I think this is a good compromise that keeps the line between opinions and news coverage bright and clear. Our credibility is our most precious asset. Our mission in the news pages is to be fair, accurate and straight down the middle, avoiding any appearance of being influenced by outside pressures.


Good and fair stuff from Jay Furst and the Rochester Post-Bulletin. Unfortunately for Dan Snyder, good and fair stuff tends to make him look like a giant asshole.

I am more convinced than ever that Washington's flacks did not read this before deciding to share it as ringing endorsement of the status quo.


[Post-Bulletin, via Dan Snyder's newly-hired crisis-management firm's astroturfed website]

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